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Captaincy for FCB two

Poldi saves German blushes in China

Philipp Lahm captained a Germany side shorn of a host of first-choice players as the Euro 2008 runners-up narrowly averted an embarrassing defeat in the first friendly of their two-game tour of Asia. In a match played in front of a 25,000 crowd in Shanghai on Friday, coach Joachim Löw’s patched-up team drew 1-1 with China, ranked 97th in the world game.

Cologne-bound FCB man Lukas Podolski took his total for his country to 33 goals with an eighth-minute equaliser after Hao Junmin had opened for the home team three minutes earlier. Future Munich striker Mario Gomez’ goal drought on the international stage continued: the Stuttgart man has now gone 15 Germany games and 795 minutes without scoring.

Experienced Schweini

“It’s not a problem. I gave it my best shot, but it wasn’t to be. It’ll happen again soon,” said the 23-year-old, who finished third in the Bundesliga scoring charts last term with 24 goals. On Saturday, the Germany squad flies to Dubai, where they will attempt to round off the season in a little more style against the United Arab Emirates, like China hardly a power in the global game.

Lahm, who led out his national side for the first time in his 56th appearance, will hand the armband to Bastian Schweinsteiger for the Dubai clash. With 66 caps, Schweini rates as the most experienced player in the rump squad.

For the future

“Philipp and Bastian are key members of the team, and have taken on increasing responsibility of late. That’s why we’ve decided each will captain the side once on this tour,” Löw explained. Official skipper Michael Ballack and his deputy Miroslav Klose are both absent from the trip.

Both the Munich men selected for the armband this week have previous experience of captaining the three-time World Cup winners. Lahm took the armband from Leverkusen star Bernd Schneider in stoppage time at the end of a 2-1 victory over England on 22 August 2007. Schweinsteiger took over the duties from Klose during a 2-0 win against Belgium in Nuremberg on 20 August 2008.